There are quite a few unique aspects to the new Fritz13 chess program’s “Let’s Check” features, all of which center on an online server to which the worldwide community of users are contributing analysis around the clock. One of the “Let’s Check” features is an opening book which is being constantly updated by new analysis, one which every Fritz13 owner can access as the opening book used by our own chess engines (Fritz13 or any other compatible chessplaying program) when we play against them.
Let’s take a look at how this works (and it’s amazingly simple). After you’ve launched Fritz13, you can click the “New Game” button (in the Home menu) to set the board up and clear the Notation pane for a fresh game:
Next go to the “Engine menu”, where you’ll see a check box beside the words “Use LiveBook”:
Clicking on that box to select it will immediately connect you to the “Let’s Check” server, and automatically bring up the contents of the LiveBook tab in Fritz13’s Notation pane:
The layout of this view may vary depending on the size of the Notation pane (which you can change by clicking and dragging its borders), but the message display will always show when you’re connected by welcoming you with your Playchess user name. Clicking and dragging on various borders within the LiveBook pane lets you resize the various displays; I’ve chosen to decrease most of the displays to give more room to the LiveBook’s opening tree display:
For each move in the opening book, we receive statistical information which is constantly updated as users access the LiveBook and analyze positions from it. Let’s look at each column to find out what the numbers mean.
The first three columns are the same as we’ve previously discussed when considering regular opening books (such as Powerbook). Games indicates the total number of games in which the move was played. The core of LiveBook is a database of games (also updated periodically); the games have been merged into this tree which we’re currently viewing. The move 1.e4 was played in 596,049 games in the master database. Result is the success rate, presented from White’s perspective (1.e4 shows a slight edge for White), while Elo-Av is the average rating of the players who played that move (2426 Elo for 1.e4). As indicated, all of this has been examined elsewhere at length.
As for the new information, we see several columns unique to the LiveBook. Date indicates the last time that engine analysis was added to the opening book by a user; in the case of 1.e4, the move was last engine evaluated on Nov. 20th). Evaluation provides an analysis of the board position after that move is played, displayed in the familiar Informant-style symbolic notation (an equal position for 1.e4, as shown in the illustration above). Visits denotes the number of times the position has been accessed by Fritz13 users (over 714,000 times to date for the move 1.e4). Finally, % shows the frequency of games in which the move was played (1.e4 was played nearly half the time: 46% of all games).
Just start playing the game against your chess engine of choice as you normally would, and the engine will reply with opening move selections based on the LiveBook instead of on an opening book stored locally on your hard drive. And, as with a normal opening book, the LiveBook moves and statistical information changes to reflect the current board position as moves are made:
You can’t open more than one tab in the Notation pane at a time, but you can open the LiveBook and an opening book of your choosing (from your hard drive, a CD/DVD drive, a flash drive, etc.) side by side to compare their contents. First click on the “Openings Book” tab in the Notation/LiveBook pane:
If you see the display pictured above, just click the “Load Static Book” button and select an opening book from one of your local drives.
Then go to the “View” menu and select “Extra book pane”:
…and if you also select the “LiveBook” toggle from the same “View” menu, you can get a display like this:
…in which you can compare the moves and corresponding statistics of both books side by side.
Have fun! – Steve Lopez
Chessplayers who have purchased their ChessBase brand chess computer software from USCFSales can receive free technical support and advice on their purchases straight from me; just shoot me an e-mail (email@example.com), but please remember to include the USCFSales order number from your ChessBase software purchase. – Steve
Copyright 2011, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.